7 exercises to make you stronger
Building strength is a common goal people have when they've signed up to a gym. One question we hear often is “what are the best exercises to make me stronger?”
The best strength exercises are compound movements that target more than one muscle. And of course, good form, safety, rest and proper nutrition are all important for building strength.
Watch PureGym Insider Marc perform 7 exercises we think are great in improving strength in the video below.
Include compound movements
Compound movements are multi-joint movements and engage multiple muscle groups. Compound movements stimulate your muscles more than isolation exercises, which is superior for muscle building, strength and burning calories.
Compound movements also engage your core. This is because your core acts as a stabiliser during compound exercises.
Include these compound movements in your workout routine to build strength.
- Squat: Squats are a compound exercise that targets the quads, hamstrings and glutes. The squat is great for developing strong, lean, legs.
- Deadlift: The deadlift is a full body movement that uses the quads, hamstrings and glutes like the squat, but also engages muscles in the upper body such as the lats and traps. There are two main ways to do this exercise, conventional and sumo deadlifts.
- Lunges: Lunges are a great exercises to strengthen your legs and glutes whilst improving your stability. This exercise does require a certain amount of balance so it will engage your back and core as well. Make sure to master the bodyweight lunge before trying any other lunge variations.
- Pull ups: Pull ups are the best upper body exercises for building strength and muscle mass in the back and biceps. Pull ups use muscles in the back, arms, shoulders, chest and core simultaneously in one fluid movement.
- Overhead press: Overhead press exercises target your shoulders (that lift the weight over your head). And your lower body (legs, core, and lower back).
- Bent over row: The bent over row is a full body compound exercise that works your upper-back, lower back, hips and arms. They build a stronger, muscular back and bigger biceps.
- Press ups: Press ups work more than just work your arms. They also work wonders for your chest, shoulders, core and and legs so it's a great full body move. Plus it doesn't require any equipment so you can do this move anywhere!
- Hip Thrust: Hip thrusts are shown to engage your glutes more than squats. If you’re looking to grow your glutes, this exercise is one to add into your routine
What is progressive overload?
If you want to get stronger, think about using progressive overload in your training.
Progressive overload is a training principle which means steadily increasing the intensity of your lifts. You can increase the intensity by upping the number of reps, increasing the weight, increasing the volume or working out more.
The aim is to try and consistently make your lifts more challenging, helping you to get stronger.
Make sure you get enough rest
When working on your strength, rest days are your best friend. Doing more isn’t the best strategy, especially if you want to build muscle.
Resistance training causes tiny micro-tears in your muscles. Micro-tears are necessary for your muscles to grow but require rest (and nutrition) for your body to repair and rebuild your muscle fibres.
Rest is important to allow this process to happen, and to avoid overtraining and risk of injury.
Get the technique right
Although getting strong involves lifting heavier weights, it’s important to master the form first. Before adding lots of weight, nail down the movement pattern. You should lift safely and controlled to benefit properly from the exercise. If you're new to lifting, check out our beginner's guide to training with free weights for some great tips to get you started.
Ask a Personal Trainer
If you’re struggling to perfect your form, our team of personal trainers can help. Personal Trainers don’t just put you through an awesome workout; they’ll help you to learn and perfect form and movement.
For more tips, check out all our articles related to building muscle here. Or you can check out an example gym workout plan for gaining muscle here.